When you travel to Katra, you will love to visit popular tourist spots and enjoy the local culture. Amongst other Things to do in Katra, you can surely explore some of the best things to do in Katra to make your trip a fulfilling one. On a trip to Katra things to do can include exploring Katra attractions and visiting the places of interest.
The Holy Shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi
Every year, the Holy Shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi Temple is visited by lakhs of pilgrims who travel all the way from their home to seek blessings of the almighty. The journey to this scenic route begins from Katra. Located at a distance of 43.5 km from Jammu, Katra is the centre of all holy activities that take the pilgrims to Vaishno Devi. The distance between Katra to Vaishno Devi is 16 km and it takes almost 2-4 hour to reach depending on the speed.
Apart from Vaishno Devi Temple, there are a lot of places to visit in Katra. The scenic Patni Top is only two and a half hour away from here. The local markets of Katra are also perfect to purchase clothes, sarees, shawls, souvenirs, and cricket bats. Nandini Wildlife Sanctuary is also one of the most recommended places to visit in Katra. It is popular for bird watching and the tourists who wish to take a detour often explore the interiors of his dense forest. You can add Patni Top and Nandini Wildlife Sanctuary to your Katra tour packages or visit on your own.
Exploring Vaishno Devi and nearby places is easy as a number of Katra tour packages are offered by travel companies operating from here.
Katra has a number of stay options ranging from budget, mid-level and luxury. Most of the hotels in Katra can be booked online or as a part of your trip package. Majority of tourists who arrive here, book one of the many hotels in Katra and then leave for the yatra the next day.
Since Katra is one of the biggest travel destinations in India with lakhs of tourists coming and leaving from here on a daily basis, it is easy to find hotels in Katra without worrying about the vacancy. A majority of budget hotels in Katra offer basic amenities on very genuine prices. Apart from budget hotels in Katra, you can also book premium hotels with luxurious amenities.
Katra bus stand is one of the prime hubs of travel activities. There are a lot of hotels in Katra near bus stand whose prices vary between INR 500 to INR 3000.
A faster way to reach Vaishno Devi is by taking a helicopter service. It is possible to travel from Katra to Vaishno Devi by helicopter. This service makes sure that the old and those who are unable to walk can reach the holy shrine easily. Katra to Vaishno Devi by helicopter service drops you at Sanjichatt from where darshan can be arranged.
One can book their trip from Katra to Vaishno Devi by helicopter via Maa Vaishno Devi website. You can also ask your tour operator to arrange tickets for Katra to Vaishno Devi by Helicopter.
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The highly revered shine of Mata Vaishno Devi’s yatra begins from Katra. This is the tourism centre of the pilgrimage site and the visitors who come here to begin their journey take a stop for a day so that they can start with a fresh enthusiasm.
The road from Katra to Vaishno Devi is filled with scenic surprises and each stop has something to offer. The serene valleys, birds and the pleasant air flowing across add to the charm of the journey.
There are a number of ways to reach Vaishno Devi Temple. Mata Vaishno Devi yatra is possible by foot, helicopters, hiring a mule or a portal.
From the security point of view, Mata Vaishno Devi Temple follows a number of strict rules and regulations. You are not allowed to carry sensitive items, lighters, flammables, firecrackers or weapons of any sort.
Here are a few tips that you need to keep in mind during your Vaishno Devi Tour.
Regular buses to Katra are available from Jammu and New Delhi. Government and private buses run from both places and most of them drop you in Katra early morning. This is for the convenience of people who want to start Vaishno Devi yatra right after arriving in Katra. It also provides convenience for the tired ones to spend a day exploring Katra and their start their pilgrimage to Vaishno Devi temple the next day.
One yatra slip is issued to a maximum of 9 members. For more than 9 members, you’ll have to break your group into two and get more passes. After arranging the Yatra Slip, the pilgrims need to start their journey for Katra to Vaishno Devi and cross the first check post at Banganga within 6 hrs from the time when the slip is issued.
The 14 km trek to Vaishno Devi is perfectly maintained and well paved. Unlike most of the treks in India, Vaishno Devi temple’s route doesn’t come with rugged patches and uneven ground.
The path is created so that mules, porters as well as those walking for Vaishno Devi darshan reach there without any troubles.
Depending on your endurance level, you will reach the temple area in 4 to 5 hours.
Senior citizens can also take the facilities of battery operated autos. This facility is only available during the day.
Mata Vaishno Devi management committee offers a number of facilities to the tourists including the rooms, blankets, and washrooms where they can freshen up. Cloakrooms are also available where you can deposit your luggage before entering the Vaishno Devi temple complex.
Note: Items like wallet, mobile phone, comb, belt, knives, cameras or cigarette lighters are not allowed and must be left behind.
There are a number of facilities present for the pilgrims traveling from Katra to Vaishno Devi. Visitors are given all facilities in the route of Mata Vaishno Devi Temple. Snacks and tea are easily available. Multiple clean washrooms are built on the way to the shrine. Apart from this, you can also get a foot massage in your way. These facilities ensure that your Vaishno Devi tour is not left incomplete or with any grievances.
Many volunteer organizations provide facilities of lost and found, free meals and first aid.
A number of tour operators provide the facility of Vaishno Devi tour. Their package includes pick and drop from Jammu, a day trip to Patni Top, hotel stays with or without meals (depending on the budget), and arranging of Vaishno Devi darshan passes.
We recommend you to not to fall into a trap of lucrative offers about Vaishno Devi darshan from local agents that look shady or unreliable. If you are planning to take a Vaishno Devi package then better book it in advance through a trustworthy agent. A reliable agent will also provide you the facility of traveling from Katra to Vaishno Devi by Helicopter.
Regular helicopter facility makes Vaishno Devi Darshan easy. The helicopter service starts at Katra and takes you all the way to Sanjichatt. The facility of Katra to Vaishno Devi by Helicopter has been running successfully and has provided a great facility to the tourists who are short on time. The bookings for Katra to Vaishno Devi Helicopter service can be made from Heli Ticket counter or online via Vaishno Devi temple’s website.
Thomas Cook has come up with the best travel packages with the best amenities and sightseeing plans for Vaishno Devi tour. Thomas Cook has the best hotels, taxi service and other facilities that a traveller would need a successful Vaishno Devi Darshan.
Thomas Cook also provides a facility for traveling from Katra to Vaishno Devi by Helicopter. The pilgrims who wish to experience this holy moment, now have the assistance of the most reliable and experienced travel planning company.
The other tourist spots around Katra are Gulmarg, Sonmarg, Srinagar and Pahalgam.
This is quaint little spot where you can go to refresh and rejuvenate within the lap of nature yourself from the daily grind in the plains. One can simply sit back and relax at this spot.
It is a popular Punjabi festival which is celebrated on the 13th of April every year. This is a major festival of the Sikhs and is celebrated here in Katra with great enthusiasm by both the locals as well as the tourists. It is celebrated to mark the beginning of the cropping season in parts of Northern India where the main occupation of most locals is farming.
Another popular festival in this town, Lohri is celebrated on the date of 13th January every year. Celebrating the fertility of mother earth this occasion marks the end of winter season and the beginning of vibrant spring. It is celebrated with the taking of the winter harvest with great joy and enthusiasm. As is common with most Punjabi festivals this occasion is also accompanied by energetic dancing and singing especially around bonfires at night. People mainly worship the fire and a ritual of pouring puffed rice, sweets and popcorn into the flames are an important part of the festival’s practices.
Katra is mainly popular as a holy spot and does not have any wildlife or forests.
There are several 3 star restaurants here which serve good quality vegetarian dishes. There are several air conditioned eateries near the main fountain where most tourists go to eat. Most such places serve food in an “all you can eat” system and you can stuff yourself at affordable prices.
There also several street foods stalls and dhabas that serves a hearty meal Indian style.
The main cuisine of this region is typically North Indian and vegetarian as it is a sacred place and Hindus do not take non-vegetarian food at religious places according to their practices. The popular dishes which is a must have here are Paranthas and Rajma chawal. Bengan ka Bharta accompanied by Aloo ke Paranthey is a popular combination here and is highly recommended to get a taste of this Indian comfort food. However if you want it healthy insist on low oil to the waiters.
As this town is a religious destination there are no nightclubs, bars or pubs here in the town. The nearest place for drinking, dancing and enjoying active nightlife is at Jammu which has several choices.
The main bazaar area within Katra is the best place for buying dry fruits which is a popular item of this town. One can hope to get dry fruits at great bargain prices to stuff your bags full for friends and family back home.